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Is Monsanto’s Roundup Killing Our Soil?

Our most widely used herbicide is draining the life from the earth.

Roundup HerbicideWe’ve often argued against “biotech” or genetically modified crops and the accompanying use of glyphosate herbicide — trade name Roundup — because of its effects on human health, sustainability, and its culpability in creating a new class of glyphosate-resistant “superweeds” that are spreading across America’s farm country. Now comes word that Roundup is killing not just weeds but the very soil in which we grow our crops.

This article in The New York Times  explains the negative effects glyphosate has on soil, effects that include compaction and resultant runoff, the killing of beneficial microbes and bacteria, and the exhaustion of necessary minerals and other nutrients that plants require.

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The article also shows how nearby use of Roundup affects farmers not using the “Roundup Ready” system of growing GMO crops coupled with the spraying of glyphosate. One farmer describes how he loses corn every time his neighbor sprays Roundup and the herbicide drifts onto his conventionally grown corn. Worse, his neighbor’s fields have become so compacted that every time it rains, Roundup-laden runoff floods his conventional crops. “Anything you put on the land affects the chemistry and biology of the land, and that’s a powerful pesticide,” the farmer is quoted as saying.

Evidence is starting to mount that what that farmer says is true. A 2009 review of studies (PDF) published in The European Journal of Agronomy titled “Glyphosate interactions with physiology, nutrition, and diseases of plants: Threat to agricultural sustainability?” catalogs the problems. Written by Robert Kremer from the United States Agricultural Department, it calls for a variety of strategies to deal with the problems caused by Roundup, not all of them calling for an end to its use.

In an interview for The Organic and Non-GMO Report, Kremer explained how glyphosates not only kill beneficial microbes and bacteria but encourage the spores that produce the fungi responsible for sudden-death syndrome that affects both corn and soybeans. Glyphosate “locks up” manganese (PDF) and other minerals in the soil so that they can’t be utilized by the plants that need them. It’s also toxic to rhizobia, the bacterium that fixes nitrogen in the soil. Kremer found that some Roundup ready crops are more susceptible to Fusarium, a type of fungi that produces mycotoxins in cereal crops that are harmful, even deadly, to humans.

Kremer also discovered evidence the glyphosates can make their way to ground water supplies, something long denied by its producers.

The most visible evidence of Roundup’s harm is given in the Times article:

Dirt in two fields around Alton where biotech corn was being grown was hard and compact. Prying corn stalks from the soil with a shovel was difficult, and when the plants finally came up, their roots were trapped in a chunk of dirt. Once freed, the roots spread out flat like a fan and were studded with only a few nodules, which are critical to the exchange of nutrients.

In comparison, conventional corn in adjacent fields could be tugged from the ground by hand, and dirt with the consistency of wet coffee grounds fell off the corn plants’ knobby roots.

The article also demonstrates the stranglehold Monsanto has on farmers who’ve used their products for years and are afraid that their profits will be cut if they don’t. Maybe they should be asked what their children will grow once glyphosates have killed off their soil but no longer controls weeds.

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9 Responses to “Is Monsanto’s Roundup Killing Our Soil?”

  1. John Caddy on October 11th, 2013 at 11:41 am #

    Another horrible aspect of Roundup is the surfactant it contains, which is theoretically not an active ingredient, so it’s not on the label. It kills all stages of frog, toad and salamander life. Amphibians are extremely vulnerable through their skins. The runoff from Roundup includes this surfactant. The runoff from Accord and Rodeo (when formulated for spray application to plant leaves) contains unlabeled surfactants which have similar effect on animal life as well as microbial life. Glyphosate use is worldwide–the most widely used herbicide everywhere.

  2. Amy Wagner on October 11th, 2013 at 1:15 pm #

    I have used Round Up in my yard and have not found this article to be the case in my yard. When the plants die I have found many worms in the soil hidden in the dead roots. I always spray when there it little chance of drift. I have a large garden full of perennials, shrubs, grasses, and trees. I haven’t see any damage or die off of neighboring plants. I haven’t seen any sign of compacted soil. I read an article in favor or Round Up, Horticulture Magazine. This article in the New York times really doesn’t show any complete scientific evidence that nay of this can be proved beyond reasonable doubt. How do we know that these problems are not being caused by something other than Round Up?

    • liz on April 27th, 2014 at 11:48 am #

      Any chance you are on Roundup’s payroll? There is NO WAY I would chance this poison around anyone, or anything, I cared for….from my children, my pets, and including my plants!!! Too much research has been done to warn consumers, and the fact alone that it is BANNED in many foreign countries should make anyone with common sense immediately stop using it! The ONLY reason it is in use in the US is because our own government is crooked and they enjoy the payoffs from this multi-billion dollar industry!

    • Thom Foote on April 28th, 2014 at 7:30 am #

      Will you bet yours’ or your neighbors’ children’s well being on it? At what point does your reasonable doubt become mild certainty and cause you to rethink your use of this?

  3. Rick on July 23rd, 2015 at 7:12 pm #

    Thanks for this great article. Monsanto employs an army of paid shill posters on the internet, like “Amy” above, to attack anyone who exposes the toxic effects of Roundup and this company’s other products:
    Monsanto and Others Caught Paying Internet ‘Trolls’ to Attack Activists
    http://naturalsociety.com/monsanto-and-others-caught-paying-internet-trolls-to-attack-activists/#ixzz3glrNgv2o

  4. Simon on August 7th, 2015 at 12:44 am #

    Hi, I was hoping someone could help me. We have just purchased a property with several large dams. We were hoping of putting trout in a few of them but have only just found out that the previous owners used some form of “Water Roundup?” on the reeds around and in the dam to keep them from growing only 2 weeks prior to our purchase. The dams are fairly large, about 100m x 25m and about 5m deep. Can anyone give me an idea of how long we will have to wait before we can safely stock fish in or even swim in them? Is there something we can do to clean them that doesn’t involve emptying them?
    Any help would be appreciated.

    Cheers

    Simon

  5. June on October 18th, 2015 at 5:01 am #

    My landscaper sprayed Roundup 5 months ago. I want to prepare soil for spring garden. If I place cardboard over soil, will it be contaminated?

  6. Xy on May 7th, 2016 at 6:30 pm #

    Roundup will be deactivated/naturalized when it come in contact with soil, it only works as herbicide when sprayed on leaves. It’s not as scary as some claimed

  7. Charles M. Gardner on May 24th, 2016 at 11:07 am #

    I sprayed Roundup around my Trailer to kill grass. This past April and last April we have had heavy rains. Last month my street and yard flooded. Roundup mixed in with water. After the rain water had receded, Roundup killed off my grass. I have green spots in the mud now and around Trailer. Is there a chemical I can use to neutralize this roundup chemical. I tried gasoline in spots. To no prevail it just turned some spots brown. It looks like gasoline had any affect. I want to get rid of it so I can replant grass. But if I replant grass, I just know that when it rains again, that the green residual that is still left around the edge of trailer will mix in with the rain water and kill my grass again. What can I use to neutralize the product Roundup????

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